At present, the medical profession considers eczema and psoriasis to be incurable skin diseases, but some Australians suffering from these conditions have come across a doctor who has carried out extensive research in aid of helping to find a cure. His patients have gained immense relief, achieving long term and even permanent remission. This is an interview with that doctor, Dr Andrew Le from Lakemba, New South Wales.
If you have eczema and/or psoriasis:
- Use moisturiser.
- Protect your skin. Pay attention to even slight skin damage.
- Apply a cream that is strong enough to kill microorganisms, but gentle enough to help your skin heal. Ideally it should control itching as well.
- Break the vicious cycle of itching and scratching. Antihistamines may help.
- Avoid contact with allergens and chemicals. Wear gloves.
- Avoid bubble bath or prolonged hot showers.
- Avoid using soap and shower gel.
- Use gentle cleansing agents or only water.
- Avoid skin scrubbing.
- Swimmers should apply moisturiser before and after swimming.
Dr Andrew Le, a medical doctor and cosmetic physician, became interested in seeking remedies for eczema and psoriasis when his son, Clark, was born with eczema.
“Not long after his birth it started to get around his eyes and in his mouth,” says Dr Le, explaining that in medical terms these conditions are referred to as periorbital and perioral dermatitis.
“The mainstream treatment for eczema is topical steroids. These are only a symptom relief measure, but, with prolonged use, they can have many side effects. For periorbital and perioral dermatitis the use of topical steroid is limited. Sometimes steroids can even make things worse.
“Feeling frustrated that I couldn’t help our son, I started to conduct my own research and treated him using my findings. I formulated a topical compound using various ingredients. Most of these ingredients are Schedule 2 pharmacy medicines that have been on chemists’ shelves for many decades.
“Seeing the good results in our son, I began giving the same treatment to my patients. We named the cream after our son: Clark’s Compound.”
Dr Le has been working on this research for more than 10 years and has treated around 3,000 patients with eczema and psoriasis with Clark’s Compound. “All with documented clinical notes”, adds Dr Le, emphasising this fact.
Costhetics: Tell us a bit more about eczema and psoriasis
Dr Le: “Australia is among the countries with the highest prevalence of eczema or AD. Eczema prevalence worldwide is estimated at between 10 to 20 per cent of the population. It has been rising over the past few decades.
“The current prevalence of eczema in Australia is between 10 to 15 per cent of the population. Recent research conducted at the University of Melbourne showed that around one in three infants (38.5%) suffer from eczema. Most children with atopic dermatitis grow out of the disease when their skin matures, but about 10 percent will continue to suffer with eczema into adulthood.
“Eczema does not discriminate by social, economic or ethnic groups. A slightly higher incidence has been observed in ‘wealthier’ western nations and in urban populations, which may be attributed to being overly hygienic—using lots of soap, body wash, scrub, bubble bath and other skincare products. They compromise the skin barrier, which is already weakened due to genetic mutations in an eczematic or eczema-prone patient.
“The Eczema Association of Australasia estimates that the average out-of-pocket amount spent on products per year to treat one patient with AD is $425, with costs ranging from $13.50 to more than $2,000 per individual. As Heather Jacobs, the National President of the Eczema Association of Australasia, says in their website, eczema really is a common, frustrating and often debilitating skin disease that can have a significant physical and emotional toll on sufferers and their carers’ quality of life; it is also costly to the public purse. This is why public health officials consider it worthwhile to find ways to reduce trigger factors for the disease.
“The worldwide prevalence of psoriasis is between 0 to 6.5 per cent. It is low in the Japanese population and absent among Australian aborigines and native South Americans.
“Psoriasis can appear at all ages, from newborns to the elderly. It occurs typically in two age ranges, which doctors refer to as a bimodal onset. The first onset is between 15 and 30 years of age. The second onset occurs between the ages of 55 and 60.”
Costhetics: How did you create Clark’s Compound?
Dr Le: “We know that our skin has the powerful ability to heal itself given the right conditions. The key ingredient in Clark’s Compound promotes healthy healing of skin, with what your doctor may call re-epithelialisation. In addition to its ability to restore normal skin barrier properties, Clark’s Compound also possesses antimicrobial properties. When these two properties come together, it provides an optimal environment for the skin to repair itself. This is how Clark’s Compound accelerates the skin healing necessary to effectively treat both eczema and psoriasis.
“Eczema and psoriasis cause inflammation. In the midst of the chronic inflammatory processes, our epidermis remains the only tissue in our body, which can fully regenerate which means repair without scarring. To be able to do this, the skin has to be left alone. Interference to healing typically comes from microbes, chemicals, irritants, a variety of allergens and trauma. Trauma most commonly occurs through constant scratching.
“Until now, the treatments available for eczema and psoriasis have taken an anti-inflammatory approach. Steroids, non-steroidal agents and other immunosuppressant agents are all used for this purpose. The novelty of our approach, using Clark’s Compound, lies in its unique antimicrobial mode of action.
“It’s necessary to note that Clark’s Compound is not a better version of a known anti-psoriasis or anti-eczema medicine. It is the quantum synergy of the reaction between the two ingredients that gives Clark’s Compound its powerful antimicrobial property.”
Costhetics: What are the success rates of your treatment?
De Le: “We consistently get good results for almost every patient, more than 90 per cent of the time. Most patients notice the improvement within days, sometimes even overnight, and experience total clearance within weeks. Many of these patients have achieved long-term remission. In the past 10 years, we have observed very few patients suffering relapses.
Costhetics: How does your treatment compare with other treatments for eczema and psoriasis?
De Le: “Conventional treatments for eczema and psoriasis are primarily topical steroids. With prolonged use they can cause side effects including thinning skin (skin atrophy) and delayed wound healing. They reduce the skin’s ability to fight infection and cause spider veins (telegiectasia), among other side effects.
“Treatments with immunosuppressants can cause alopecia (hair loss), dyspepsia, increased susceptibility to infections, masked signs of infection, increased appetite and delayed wound healing. There is some controversy as to whether pimecrolimus, a topical immunosuppressant, can cause skin cancer. UV light therapy theoretically increases the risk of skin cancer.
Most of these treatments are only for symptomatic relief.
“Clark’s Compound is unique in this respect. It works as a symptomatic treatment, since it can alleviate the itch, often offering instant relief. Clark’s Compound also has a potent antimicrobial effect, which can kill the pathogens causing eczema or psoriasis. It also promotes skin healing, and helps repair a broken or compromised skin barrier.”
Costhetics: What are the risks and complications involved in your treatments?
De Le: “We found that about 10 per cent of our patients developed mild contact dermatitis. This can be treated with an improved version of the cream. More than 90 per cent tolerated the treatment well, with no side effects.”
Costhetics: How do you see the future? Where do you see your work leading?
De Le: “I hope that in the near future my cream can be made widely available worldwide to patients who have these conditions.
“I believe my findings will encourage future researchers to put more emphasis on the role of microorganisms and skin barrier defects as the main cause of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. I would like to see more funding and resources allocated for this type of research. And hopefully we will then see more effective treatments to repair the skin barrier defect and eradicate these pathogenic microorganisms.
Costhetics: As your products are not widely available in the open market, how do people get them?
De Le: “I can only offer this treatment to patients who have been seen by me or a doctor in my practice, in order to establish the diagnosis and get appropriate patient consent to our treatment. Patients can refer themselves directly or ask their family physicians to refer to us.”
Costhetics: What needs to be done so your treatment can be more widely available?
De Le: “We are trying to get funding for a double blind, multi-centre clinical trial to formalise our findings. Once that is done, we can seek approval for our cream so it can be available to any patients with eczema and psoriasis.”
Costhetics: What advice can you give people about eczema and psoriasis?
De Le: “Up to 10 per cent of childhood eczema will carry into adulthood. These patients will continue to have ‘imperfect skin’—dry skin lacking the abilities to heal properly or fight against microorganisms. This occurs because a lack of special proteins such as fillagrin and natural moisturising factor (NMF) due to genetic mutation of patients’ skin.
“The risk of recurrence is high if their skin is not protected in the best way possible.
“Moisturiser is an essential part of healthy skin maintenance and should be continued indefinitely. Dryness can predispose your skin to problems.
“By focusing on protecting the skin barrier—using lots of moisturiser, avoiding contact with irritants and other measures—it is possible to strengthen imperfect skin and lead a normal life.
“Spleenectomy patients illustrate this point very well. These patients have permanently weakened immune systems, but so long as appropriate measures are employed, such as regular vaccination, antibiotic prophylaxis and early treatment at first signs of infection, these patients can avoid chronic or life threatening infection and have normal lives.
“People with a history of atopic dermatitis or psoriasis should apply a cream that is strong enough to kill all the opportunistic microorganisms at the first sign of a broken or weakened skin barrier. This applies to even a tiny scratch, an insect bite, cut, abrasion or burn. The cream they use should be gentle enough to promote skin healing, with the ability to close up the ‘entry points’ of micro-organisms. Ideally it should also control itchiness. If you take such precautions, you can prevent the recurrence of these skin conditions.
“The most important part of any skin treatment therapy is the control of scratching and itchiness. Scratching worsens eczema, leading to increased itching and more scratching. We need to break this vicious cycle to help the skin to repair itself. Whatever it takes, people with eczema and psoriasis must stop scratching. Even rubbing on the lesion is bad. Antihistamines can offer some relief.
“An effective treatment will promote a new healthy skin layer to replace ‘bad’ skin. New skin is very delicate and can be damaged easily by scratching. If you scratch, your skin will never have a chance to get better. It is important to stop the scratching. Scratching can happen during sleep, be habitual or subconscious scratching. These issues need to be identified and treated.
“It is also necessary to avoid contact with allergens. Even though skin allergy is not a cause of eczema or psoriasis, it can trigger or worsen existing lesions. Coming into contact with allergens leads to itchy skin, inevitably causing constant scratching. Scratching, as I mentioned before, compromises the skin barrier. It interferes with skin repair and, at the same time, provides an entry point for microorganisms.
“Avoid bubble bath because it causes skin dehydration. Avoid prolonged hot showers because they remove the natural moisturiser from your skin. Applying a thick layer of moisturiser before jumping in the pool helps create a second skin for regular swimmers. After the swim, apply moisturiser again to replace the natural oils lost.
“Avoid contact with chemicals and wear gloves when possible. Your gloves must be dry and clean, because wet or dirty gloves are worse than no gloves at all. Avoid using soap and shower gel, if you can. Avoid skin scrubbing and use gentle cleansing agents or only water.”